A nationally recognized literary figure agreed to support one of Oklahoma Christian University's annual publications. Editors of "Soundings," sponsored by the English Department, said they are excited to have former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky as the publication's literary judge this year.
Pinsky first became involved with the university as a speaker for the McBride Lectureships in October of 2006.
According to "Soundings" co-editor, Kate Long, Pinsky enjoyed his time with the university so much the editors thought he might be willing to judge the submissions.
"Last year we asked him to judge but he couldn't because he was on a book tour," Long said. "This year, Dr. Lamascus helped us get back in touch with him, and he was glad to help."
"Soundings" is a book made from writings and art work created entirely by members of the Oklahoma Christian community.
The editors stress that though it is sponsored by the English department, it is a multidisciplinary publication.
"Not everyone is an English major. Not everyone is an Art major," Amy Hardin, co-editor, said. "But if you write or if you draw to express yourself, submit to 'Soundings.'"
Since 1979, "Soundings" has united the literary talents of Oklahoma Christian.
Despite what Long described as a few lackluster years, the current editorial staff is dedicated to reviving the book and making it more accessible to the whole campus beginning with last year's redesign.
This design has been submitted for judging at the International Sigma Tau Delta conference in March.
"Last year we wanted [students] to see it," Long said. "It was more modern, edgy and minimalist."
This edition, Long said, will feature a more organic approach.
"We want [the campus] to pick it up and enjoy it," Long said. "This is made by your peers and your friends. It's a really good way to get involved on campus."
Currently the editorial staff is gearing up for the submission period.
They are seeking submissions of prose, poetry and artwork.
"Prose can be either fiction or non-fiction, but must be limited to 1,500 words," Long said. "Art submissions can include drawings, paintings or photography, but should be submitted in a digital format."
All submissions must be sent to Soundings@oc.edu by March 1 to be considered for publication.
Once all submissions are gathered, the editors will begin to determine which will be printed.
The selections will then be sent to the judges.
Pinsky will judge the literature pieces and an Oklahoma City artist will be selected to judge the art pieces.
The part of the process that editors said they find most exciting is the commentary the winning work will receive.
"Having Robert Pinsky as our judge is a big deal," Hardin said. "It gives me chills knowing he is going to read and critique our students' work. The three writers whose works are chosen and appreciated by a three time poet laureate and Pulitzer prize winning author should feel honored."
After winners are selected, the book will finally be laid out and printed.
An unveiling ceremony will take place in April where winners will be announced.
Copies of "Soundings" will be passed out that night and will also be available in the English Department.
The editors encouraged students to feel free to contribute their work to the publication in order to give back to the campus.
"I believe Soundings is an important and unique outlet for self-expression on Oklahoma Christian's campus," Hardin said. "That's why I am involved. So I ask my fellow students to please pick up your pen and paper or develop that roll of film in the back your desk to share with your student body, because words and the creation of art are valuable, God-given gifts for each of us to use and appreciate."